NEW YORK • Russian third seed Maria Sharapova withdrew from the US Open on Sunday with a right leg injury, but gave assurances that she will be fit for next month's WTA Finals in Singapore.
US Open tournament director David Brewer announced Sharapova's exit, which allowed qualifying lucky loser Daria Kasatkina of Russia to replace her.
"Unfortunately I will not be able to compete in this year's US Open," Sharapova, third in the Road to Singapore standings, tweeted.
"I have done everything possible to be ready, but it was just not enough time.
"To all my amazing fans, I will be back in the Asian swing in a few weeks and look forward to finishing the year healthy and strong."
RUNNING OUT OF TIME
I have done everything possible to be ready but it was just not enough time. I will be back in the Asian swing in a few weeks.
Her absence could ease the path to a calendar-year Grand Slam for top-ranked Serena Williams, who opens against the 86th-ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia this morning (Singapore time).
Sharapova had been the highest-seeded rival in Williams' half of the US Open draw, a status that now belongs to seventh-seeded Serbian Ana Ivanovic, a possible semi-final foe for the 33-year-old.
Sharapova had not played a match since losing to Williams in a Wimbledon semi-final last month because of the injury. She also withdrew from recent tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.
The 28-year-old initially suffered the leg injury during training for the hardcourt swing, and she said in Cincinnati that she had injured the leg weeks earlier and had aggravated the injury shortly before travelling to Canada for her first hard-court event.
Sharapova practised on Sunday afternoon, testing her form, but she betrayed visible unease even though there was no obvious physical impairment. Several times she consulted with her coach, Sven Groeneveld, and her hitting partner, Dieter Kindlmann.
Sharapova also withdrew from the 2013 US Open because of a right shoulder injury.
Williams has dominated the rivalry between the two, leading it 18-2 and winning their past 17 meetings in a row.
Still, with few other obvious challengers to Williams' throne, as well as intermittent off-court tension between the two, Sharapova is often cited as a primary rival.
When asked if Williams' dominance reflected poorly on the rest of the field, Sharapova praised the American and defended the quality of the rest of the Tour.
"She's been playing on an incredible level, and I don't think it takes anything away from other players," said the five-time Major champion.
"We have to step up, me and everyone else. Her level makes us want to be at a better level."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW YORK TIMES
Day 2: StarHub Ch201, 11pm & tomorrow, 7am